If you`re a loyal Instagram babe, you`ve probably noticed the Can We Talk deck of cards on your timeline, insta stories or at Tubayo Market Day. Are you wondering what Can We Talk is all about? Be sure it is not Kevin Campbell`s 1993 song `Can we talk for a minute, girl I want to know your name…”
Today I host the lady behind the brand and we will gist on it all so you walk away with an understanding of it.
Belinda Katumba is a creative entrepreneur, Marketing & Branding specialist and occasional writer.
Briefly describe to us what Can We Talk is all about? What inspired it?
Our mission at Can We Talk is to curate products and spaces for conversations focused on fostering healthy relationships, community, and holistic wellness. I believe that the power of human connection through conversations contributes greatly to the health and development of an individual and translates into the building and well-being of the community. It began as a podcast where I hosted different people and had conversations with them, and has since grown into a business and community, with the Can We Talk Game and Book Club.
As a lover of games, I was thrilled to learn about the Can we Talk game. I have played it with a friend before and we had fun with it. I like that it is tailored to two editions so far: finding home and relationships. What inspired this move? What should people expect when they purchase both games?
The Finding Home edition was our first edition, inspired by the conversations I had on the last season of the podcast, where my guests and I chatted about finding home in different places, people and within ourselves. It has 101 conversation starters designed to help you go deeper within your friendships.
Our relationship edition was first released on Valentine’s Day and has 90 conversation starters designed for couples to explore their relationship past, present and future in a way that improves emotional intimacy.
On your blog, you explore matters of holistic wellness. What is holistic wellness and how important is it? How can one practise holistic wellness?
As humans, every part of our being is interconnected. For example, if you are not taking care of your body, your mental health will be affected. If you are going to the gym every day, but are not taking time to nurture your relationships, eventually it may affect your health. So holistic wellness for me is looking at wellness in not just one area of your life, but as a whole: body, mind, and soul.
You practice holistic wellness by asking yourself what do I need to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially, and doing that. I believe it looks different for everyone.
You also host the Can We Talk podcast where you centre conversations on taboo topics and finding home within self. What is the essence of the podcast? What`s been your experience especially when it comes to taboo topics? Are people more responsive to them?
The podcast was my creative outlet at that time designed to start conversations I thought were worth having. It was a great experience as I got to have great conversations and dive deeper with many people. It was important for me to curate a space where people felt safe to share their different opinions and experiences without judgement. All the seasons were very well received, including the one on Taboo Topics.
That season was in collaboration with a friend of mine, Kabasigyi Mulera, who wanted to talk about things we often don’t talk about as Ugandans like religion, classism, and alcoholism. It started a lot of conversations with people reaching out to discuss and question things they always felt ashamed or shy to talk about.
Your book club read for September was Tropical Fish by Ugandan writer Doreen Baingana. How important is it to read Ugandan writers? Did the book club members enjoy Tropical Fish?
It’s important to read Ugandan stories because it’s important to see ourselves in the stories we read. Reading about Christine’s experience moving to the UK in Tropical Fish for example, in a way validated a lot of what I felt and experienced when I moved to Canada.
It also teaches us a lot about ourselves and our society. Reading a book like Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, taught me so much about our history that is not taught in school. For so long, our stories have been told by other people, it is great that they are now being told by us.
Yes, the book club members enjoyed Tropical Fish, and have also enjoyed The First Woman, another Ugandan book.
Tell us more about the book club. Why did you start it?
I am a big reader and I used to refer to the books I was reading a lot in the podcast. Everyone experiences books in a different way: one-character appeals to different people in different ways, or different parts of the book stand out for different people. With our mission to curate spaces for conversations and community, I thought a book club would be perfect. Books are great conversation starters after all. I have read so many books that I immediately wanted to call someone up to talk about them.
2022 fave book club picks.
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah and The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
As one who is big on conversations and have curated games, a blog, podcast and book club to foster conversations. Why do you think conversations are vital among people?
At our core, we are social animals. We crave connection and relationships. However, we have grown increasingly cut off thanks to social media and the prevalent culture of silence in our society. We talk less to each other at the dinner table. We interact with someone’s Instagram stories more often than we do with them. Vulnerability is non-existent in our relationships. Statistics show that loneliness has increased among millennials, which indicates some mental health issues. So curating products and spaces that help with this, is my contribution.
What does the future look like for the brand?
We are launching five new editions on 27 November 2022, around different topics including sex. We also plan to start a membership-based community for people who want a community to support them on their holistic wellness journey.
What`s one random fact about you that people don`t know?
I am an introvert. While I live for a great conversation, I need and value my time alone to recharge.
Book the conversation series tickets here to attend the Can We Talk event on 27th November 2022.
Images courtesy of Belinda Katumba.