SA couple expected home next week

Pelizzari and Calitz are visiting family in Rome after they were released by Somali pirates.

South Africans Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz, kidnapped by Somali Pirates.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African couple released from captivity by Somali pirates will return home next week.

Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were held hostage for 20 months.

They were abducted from a yacht off the East African coast in October 2010.

Their release follows a joint operation between South African, Somali and Italian officials.

The couple is currently in Rome to visit Pelizzari's 82-year-old mother.

According to Pelizzari's sister, Vera Hecht, the two are very thin and pale after spending 604 days in captivity.

She said they were kept in a confined and dark space.

"They [the pirates] fattened them up a bit when they realised they would be released."

Hecht said family members in Italy were ecstatic to see them.

"It was a very emotional day."