As soon as Zolani felt safe enough he stepped out from behind the tree and walked quickly and quietly across the open veld towards the building. As he moved closer, he ran from shadow to shadow, until he reached the warehouse. He was horrified by what he saw…
It’s school holidays and Zolani is bored. Next door he sees his neighbour, Fulani, has a cute new puppy. When he overhears Fulani arranging an illegal dogfight in an abandoned warehouse, he decides to try and stop him. But he can’t do it alone. He plucks up courage to ask his bossy classmate, Tashnay, who always has an answer for everything. Will their bravery and team work be enough to stop the gang and rescue the dogs from a cruel fate?
Michelle Faure grew up in the Eastern Cape. She started her writing career as a journalist for the Port Elizabeth Herald newspaper. She has written television scripts, and many short stories for the FunDza mobi library that have had readers begging for more. Her short story ‘Dreamgirl’ was selected to be part of FunDza’s Big Ups! anthology.
Author: Michelle Faure
Grade 7 FAL English Novel
Release date: September 2013
Retail price: R56.70
Zolani was deep in thought as he strolled home from school. The long school holidays stretched before him. Grade Seven was behind him. It seemed to him that all his classmates had grown up and gone off together after school. No one had invited him to join them, but he was used to that.
He pulled a key out of his pocket as he entered the gate to their yard, but paused before opening the door. A soft whimpering sound was coming from behind the slatted wooden fence that enclosed the next door yard.
Next door lived a man called Fulani, and his wife, Dudu. Most people were scared of Fulani, especially his wife, and for good reason. Fulani was a brutal man. Sometimes at night Zolani heard them fighting. Several times his parents had called the police. But when they came Dudu never laid charges. She was too afraid of her husband. Zolani had overheard his mother and father talking about Dudu and how they wished she would leave Fulani. One night she had taken shelter in their house. But the next day Fulani came to fetch her and she went back with him.
Zolani didn’t like Fulani at all, but he was not afraid of him. It was a strange and unusual thing, but on the whole Zolani was not afraid of anybody, even when he should have been. He was not even afraid of Ollie and Temba who were the worst bullies in the school. He was the only boy who was not afraid of them.
There was one girl though, who also had no fear of them. Her name was Tashnay. Tashnay was also not afraid of anybody, but nearly every boy in the school was afraid of her. It was common knowledge that her father had run off with Marinda, the hairdresser next door to where she lived. Since then, Tashnay had been angry with just about every male in town.
Once Ollie and Temba had waited for Zolani after school. They had knocked him down and his glasses had fallen off. They had tried to steal his cell phone. Zolani had felt no fear at all. He had clung on to his cell phone that day, and refused to let it go. He had jumped back onto his feet and swung his schoolbag at them and screamed loudly, like some wild animal just let out of its cage.
It was Tashnay who had appeared first to help him. Ollie and Temba had fled at the sight of her. Tashnay had pushed her face right up close to Zolani and said, “Okay Zolani, you can shut up now. They’ve gone.” She had handed Zolani his glasses.
Zolani had seen Tashnay very clearly that day. No one, as far as Zolani was concerned, could deny that Tashnay was the most beautiful girl at Miriam Makeba Primary School.
“Thanks Tashnay,” was all that Zolani had thought to say.
“Fine,” Tashnay had said, before she ran off.
Zolani often thought of that moment when he had seen Tashnay’s face so close to his.
Zolani knelt down and peered between the wooden slats of the fence into the next door yard. The whimpering was coming from a small brown puppy with a blob of white over one small ear. It was rolling on its back. All four of its short legs were waving in the air.
Zolani noticed that it was tangled, caught up in the short rope with which it was tied to one of the fence posts. There was only one thing to do, he decided, and that was to climb over the fence to free it.
He put one foot into a gap in the slats and pulled himself up. In a moment he was over the fence, and in Fulani’s yard. He knelt down next to the puppy and stroked its short brown hair. The puppy felt warm to the touch. It began to bite his fingers with its small sharp teeth.
“Ouch,” said Zolani, laughing. “There now,” he said as he untangled the puppy from the rope, “that’s better.” The puppy began frolicking about, pouncing on his toes.
Just then the front door of Fulani’s house flew open. Fulani stood in the doorway. Zolani noticed Dudu, dressed only in her petticoat, standing behind him. Her arm was in a plaster cast, held in a sling across her chest.
“What do you think you are doing with my dog?” shouted Fulani. He strode across the yard and waved his fist at Zolani.
“I saw that he was tangled in his rope,” said Zolani calmly, slowly standing up.
“Get out of my yard,” shouted Fulani. He was furious. Zolani moved slowly towards the entrance of the yard.
“Hurry up!” Now the puppy was jumping up at Fulani, pulling at his shoelaces and tumbling over his shoes.
“Get off!” said Fulani kicking it away. The puppy yelped in pain, and carried on crying for a few seconds.
Zolani turned back. He put out a hand towards the puppy. It cowered in a corner of the yard. Dudu was standing, silent and still, in the doorway. She covered her mouth with her hand, as if to stop some words escaping.
“Get out!” said Fulani again. He took a step towards Zolani, who opened the gate quickly, and then shut it behind himself. Fulani turned on his heel, and stomped inside his house, slamming the door after him.
Zolani jumped back over the wall to his own yard. He looked back over the fence. The little puppy was still whimpering softly. “It’s okay little puppy,” he said comfortingly. “It’s going to be okay.”
The net curtain in one of the windows moved. Zolani saw Dudu’s face appear, just for a moment behind the glass. She looked straight at him, before the curtain fluttered shut. Zolani could not be sure, but he was almost certain that he saw her smile. He picked up his schoolbag, opened his front door, and went inside.
Examples of Activities at the back of the book
You will get questions about Rescue in your Paper Two exam. Here are some questions to use as practice.
“Fulani stood in the doorway. “Get rid of it, Wesley,” Fulani had ordered, waving his hand towards the grey shape under the blanket. “He is no good to me now.”
Wesley had nodded, and walked towards the dog, lying dead beneath the blanket.“ You are no good to me either, Wesley!”
a) How did the dog die? 1
b) What does this extract tell us about how Fulani treats people and dogs? 2
c) Why does Wesley always obey Fulani? 2
d) How would you feel if you had a neighbour like Fulani? Give a reason for your answer. 2
Fulani moved to the fence, and glared at Zolani, who could feel his palms beginning to sweat. Zolani swallowed hard. “Yes sir,” he said as he stepped forward.
“Did you see anyone in my yard? Did you see anyone take my dog?” Fulani shouted.
“No.” It was Dudu’s voice, coming very softly, from the doorway. Fulani turned on her angrily.
“I wasn’t speaking to you,” he shouted at her. She was standing like a statue in the doorway, “You never see anything! You useless…” Fulani turned back to Zolani.
“No, sir,” said Zolani. His voice was trembling, even though he felt a strange calmness settling over him.
He lifted his face to Fulani. He looked him directly in the eye, and he said again, “No sir. I’ve been inside all day, playing computer games. I didn’t hear anything.”
a) Give two words from this extract that show Fulani is being aggressive. 2
b) Was Zolani telling the truth to Fulani? Give a reason for your answer. 2
c) Do you think Zolani was doing the right thing here? Give a reason for your answer. 2
d) Why did Zolani look Fulani directly in the eye? 2
e) ‘She was standing like a statue’
I. Is this a simile or a metaphor? 1
II. Why did the writer use this comparison? 2
Writing responses: Choose one or more for practice
1. Zolani and Tashnay meet a week later to visit the puppy at Dudu’s house. Write the dialogue between them..
(Some ideas: perhaps Zolani can describe the sight he got of the dog fights and they can talk about the people who go to dogfights. Or they can talk about what they found most frightening about their experiences. They can also talk about the puppy that they are visiting.)
2. Imagine you are Zolani. Write a letter or email to your cousin in Pietermaritzburg about your adventures.
(Use your textbook for help in how to set the letter out if you need to.)
3. Write a letter to the author of the book, telling him/her what you found most interesting about the book and why. You can also ask him/her any questions about the characters and the events in the novel, and give your opinions about what happened.