Gweru based diva Respina Patai aka Mai Patai brew a shocker at the 18th National Arts Merit Awards ceremony after winning the Viewers/People’s Choice gongs.
Over the years, the award has been won by household names like Winky D, Jah Prayzah or Alick Macheso among other revered arts giants.
Debate has been raging on social media, radio stations and in homes with many questioning Mai Patai’s credentials and popularity and how did she manage to shock the world.
H-Metro Assistant News Editor (Entertainment) TRUST KHOSA spoke to the 40-year-old diva who credits her triumph to God’s grace.
She also opened up on how she managed to solicit for votes as well as thanking her fans who have been loyal to her.
To find out more about Mai Patai’s credentials, vision and career, read on…
Q: How do you feel after winning the People’s Choice Award at the expense of some of the big names in the industry?
A: Firstly I would like to thank God. Because of his grace and love I managed to win this award. So above everything else I am very grateful to God and to everyone who voted for me. I am very happy and grateful.
Q: What were your expectations during the build up to the event?
A: I was happy when l was nominated but l did not know l was going to win l was happy just being a nominee l had no further expectations.
Q: How did you manage to solicit for votes?
A: I only constantly sent the message for people to vote for me on Facebook and on my WhatsApp fan groups platforms until the voting deadline.
Q: What does the award mean to you?
A: Winning the award showed me that l have people who support me and love my music since this award came by votes. It showed me that l have supportive people and l am very grateful for that.
Q: How supportive was your church members in the voting process?
A: I love my church AFM in Zimbabwe so much and l go to church to pray not to ask for votes. I ask my fans to vote for me and if they be anyone from my church who voted for me it is only because they love my music not because l ask for votes from the church. When l am at church l am just a church member and a child of God.
Q: After winning the People’s Choice award, what does this reflect about your music and appeal?
A: After winning this award to me it reflects that my supporting base has grown locally and internationally as l am being contacted by different people in different places congratulating me and showing great support something l wasn’t expecting but l am grateful for it.
Q: Besides music, what else do you do for a living?
A: Besides church currently l am a student at Living Waters Theological Seminary at (Azusa Campus BYO). I am pursuing a diploma in pastoral Theology and l am a second year now. And l am into farming and poultry. I help my husband run his business E and R Transport Logistics.
Q: How many albums do you have to your name?
A: I have three albums to my name which are Makanaka, Samulena and Punish the Devil which is my 2018 production.
I also sang some of the tracks under my husband Ephraim Takawira Patai.
These albums are Rumbidzwai which has the hit song Mazambara and the other albums are Mabhiravira and Mbiri Kunashe.
On these albums, l was a backing vocalist and lead singer on some songs?
Q: How supportive is the Gweru community in your career?
A: In the Midlands Province and in Gweru l want to thank these people so much because they were the first to give me recognition and support more than anyone and awarded me with a Midlands 2018 award in the Arts Sector sponsored by Women business Coalition.
I was given this award before l was even awarded the Coca Cola Top 50 award for being the first woman in Zimbabwe to qualify in the Top 3 of Coca cola top 50.
It all began here at home in the Midlands Province, Gweru. I appreciate and love the Midlands province as a whole. I am very grateful.
Q: How do you balance motherhood and music?
A: When l am at home l am a full time mother and when in the music industry l am a musician who is at work.
Despite work l always have time for my family and l have always balanced everything well
Q: Give us your brief biography?
A: My name is Respina Patai stage name Mai Patai. I am 40 years old and l am married to Ephraim Takawira Patai and we are blessed with four girls.
I started singing at church when l was young that is where l met my husband. I started recording music in 2002 when l was 23 years and l sang the song Mazambara.
Before 2002 I was singing under my Husband Ephraim Patai and the Voice of Prophecy.
I go to the church AFM in Zimbabwe. All my inspiration and strength comes from God, supportive fans, my encouraging family and other musicians like Gospel Trumpet led by Rev Stan Mutemererwa, Synach from Nigeria, the Late Dr Oliver Mutukudzi, Aleck Macheso and many other artistes.
Q: Thank You for Your time?
A: You are welcome! H Metro