Somali pirates held them hostage for 20 months, often handcuffed to each other. Every day they faced the prospect of dying together and kept hoping to be released.
Now, five months after regaining their freedom, the paths of Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari have separated.
On the night of their return from the Netherlands after the trial of their pirate captors, Bruno (53) flew back to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Debbie (50) stayed behind in Centurion, Gauteng, where she and her son, Jason, are staying with her brother.
“We’re not together but we’ve not broken up. We need time apart,” she explains.
They have had little contact since their release and return from Italy as Bruno almost immediately returned to Dar es Salaam.
The pair realised they needed to give each other space to come to terms with the ordeal they each suffered in their own way.
Read more of Sulaiman Philip’s interview with Debbie in YOU 15 November 2012.