Wendy Nyakurerwa – Assistant Editor

\n

It is perceived that once locked on specific landmarks, bridges and railings, the locks of love that bear the couples’ initials are never to be unlocked again, thereby symbolising their undying love.

\n

People take a stroll at one of the Seven Wonders of the World

People take a stroll at one of the Seven Wonders of the World

\n

They say that one is not a hero (or a heroine) until they climb the Great Wall of China, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

\n

As this blunt challenge was tabled by our tour guide, my first reaction was to quickly dash to the cosiness of our very own Victoria Falls’ rainforest, mentally that is, and feel like the heroine that l am.

\n

But only a couple of seconds later, I chuckled and brushed it aside, quickly forgiving the Chinese after reaching the conclusion that different societies have different ways of awarding hero status.

\n

However, as l began the taxing journey up the Great Wall in order to acquire my heroine status in this great land, it soon became apparent that the heroism that the tour guide had referred to was only a translation for having a mixture of fortitude, determination and passion.

\n

Despite the grandeur of the meandering fortifications of stone, brick and tampered earth that rise from the ground going up in paths, stairs and through majestic towers, a novel thing grabbed my attention and it lingers to this day.

\n

Thousands of padlocks, most of them heart-shaped, line the rails of the Great Wall. Apparently, the Chinese and tourists from all over the world believe that “locking love” on this wonder sanctifies and preserves it for eternity.

\n

While some of the keys still look new and squeaky clean, a testament of newly-locked love, the majority are now rusty from the years they have been subjected to the weather; which is in its own right testament of what relationships have to endure.

\n

But still, the worn-out padlocks remain locked, stubbornly fastened to the unflinching Great Wall.

\n

The use of love locks is a cultural phenomenon that has been observed by unrepentant romantics for thousands of years in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

\n

It is perceived that once locked on specific landmarks, bridges and railings, the locks of love that bear the couples’ initials are never to be unlocked again, thereby symbolising their undying love.

\n

As the tour guide proudly shed light on the love-locking principle and how one of the great wonders of the world was built to protect the Chinese and their territory, my mind drifted back home again.

\n

Could the locks work in bringing down the national divorce statistics? Wishful thinking, l hear many people saying; but hey, there is never any harm in trying.

\n

Some of the padlocks that were locked by lovers at the Great Wall rails

Some of the padlocks that were locked by lovers at the Great Wall rails

\n

The building of the Great Wall of China started way back in the 7th century BC and since then, the edifice has been rebuilt, modified or extended throughout Chinese history and the efforts are paying off as the architectural heritage is still in good condition.

\n

Though there have been claims that the Great Wall is visible from space, no astronaut has ever claimed to have seen the Great Wall from way up there.

\n

The wall has been measured by a comprehensive archaeological survey using advanced technologies that put it at 8 850km as it meanders through deserts, grasslands, and mountains across over ten Chinese provinces and cities.

\n

This is both a wonder of architecture and a wonder of love.