When Corrine Wilson, of Noordhoek, co-founded a non-profit organisation for needy animals with Ingrid de Storie, of Ocean View, in 2014, she never imagined that she would one day write a book about their experiences, never mind a community memoir.
The organisation, 1 Kennel at a Time, is the brainchild of Ms Wilson and Ms De Storie, who is fondly referred to as the “Mother Teresa for the animals” by the Ocean View community.
While on the streets of Ocean View, Ms Wilson discovered a story that needed to be told and it took her five years to write it.
Shine a Light tells the story of these two women, who at the outset seem worlds apart, separated by South Africa’s turbulent history.
“I was told there are guns, gangsters and dog fighting, but what I wasn’t told is that there is also an incredible humanity, a beauty and a sense of community on the streets,” Ms Wilson said.
She found that she and Ms De Storie were more alike than she could have imagined.
While the narrative winds its way along the troubled streets, it becomes clear how animals provide a unique platform for dialogue.
“It was in these conversations, between people who would never have otherwise spoken, where there is so much healing,” Ms Wilson said.
She describes the book as “brutally honest” and one that offers a compelling look at rediscovering our shared humanity.
Ms Wilson said she had never had any aspirations to write a book before.
“I think the closest I got to writing was scribbling morbid poems in the 80s when I went through my Goth phase. I’m also a little embarrassed to admit that I’m not even a particularly avid reader, which is probably why I naively decided to write a book in the first place,” she said.
She vividly remembers the day she looked at Ms De Storie, sitting beside her, and said: “Let’s write a book”.
“At that moment, I felt a bolt of lightning surge through my body while Ingrid just sat there and smiled unconvincingly,” she said.
Ms De Storie said she had laughed at Ms Wilson’s suggestion and had replied: “Do you want to write a book about me?”
She said she had never thought Ms Wilson would do it, but now that it was done and the response from the community was positive, she was very proud and pleased about it.
“People are saying that they can’t stop reading it. I hope the book will encourage people to be kinder to animals and to each other,” Ms De Storie said.
“This experience has changed me forever,” said Ms Wilson. “My hope is that this book brings about more understanding and empathy towards one another. I hadn’t realised how hard I had become until I walked the streets with Ingrid.”
Shine a Light is available in all major bookstores and online at www.shinealight-thebook.co.za and R50 from every online sale will go towards assisting vulnerable animals.