Gweru based gospel sensation, Restina Patai (40), better known as Mai Patai won this year’s people’s choice award at the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) for her hit song; Anokomborera, shrugging off some stiff competition from some big names in Zimbabwe’s music circles.

Having ventured into the music scene back in 2002, Mai Patai was largely a supporting act to her husband who is a Minister of Religion, Ephraim Patai.

Her vocal prowess made her visible when she became a lead vocalist on the song; Mazambara,’which featured on her husband’s album named ‘Rumbidzwai’.

The just ended NAMA’s saw her scooping the People’s Choice Award and thus proving her breakthrough as a musician of repute.

It was in 2004 when she released her own album; Makanaka, which had a hit ‘Nguva Yakwana’.

The musician released her second album; Samulena in 2008 before the family decided to leave for Namibia where they took a break on the musical scene.

Mai Patai’s family had to relocate from Namibia back to Zimbabwe in 2012 and the appetite for their music by fans for the gospel’s power couple pushed the musician back into the studios to record an album; Punish the Devil, with the award winning song; Anokomborera.

“My family is back in Zimbabwe for good. Our fans are the ones who begged us to come back and said the break you took has affected our lives as we were getting a lot from your music. This prompted us to come back and minister the gospel through music and we are back for good,” said Mai Patai.

Nguva Yakwana also got the third slot on the Coca-Cola Top 50 Music Charts.

However, it is the appreciation of hitting the top spot at the NAMAs that surprised many, including the musician who failed to attend the award ceremony to receive her accolade.

“It’s an honour because I see the hand of God as this is not what I looked forward to. The award is a testimony that if you work hard things just happen. Already, I am fired up because of this surprise and it also gives other artists motivation that if you work hard you are bound to get positive results.”

Going forward, the gospel musician said she is working on a DVD for the album; Punish the Devil, with fans expected to get yet another album this year.