South Africa-based Zimbabwean gospel singer Prosper Mateva last weekend scooped the African Gospel Music Association award (Agma) for being the best discovery of the year.
The 29-year-old Gweru-born artist became the first-ever Zimbabwean to win an Agma at a ceremony held at the Golders Green Hippodrome in London last Saturday night.
According to its website, Agma was founded in 2009 and serves as the face and voice for the African gospel/Christian music community worldwide. It is said to be dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through Africa-fusion music of all styles.
The talented artist, who has two albums to his name, beat nine other contenders from across the continent in the discovery of the year category, to win the award.
An ecstatic Mateva told NewsDay: I feel so excited that I am representing not only myself, but the nation as a whole, as by the grace of God, Im the only and first Zimbabwean to win the award. Its a highly competitive and prestigious award, so Im over the moon.
Matevas second album titled Pandimire (Where l stand) that was released late last year, won the former Midlands State University student, the recognition which has landed him the Agma.
The 11-track album, a fusion of Shona, Sotho, Zulu and English languages, has enjoyed considerable airplay on South African radio stations since its release.
Two other Zimbabweans Prince Mafukidze and Tatenda Gudyanga were also nominated in other categories, but failed to garner enough votes to win.
Mafukidze of the Driver fame, had been nominated in the Artist of the Year (Southern Africa) category, together with nine others from the region.
But Patrick Duncan from South Africa won the award ahead of Mafukidze and others.
Gudyanga, known in the music circles as DJ Tait, lost out to Anthony Ndiema of Kenya and Fiifi Folson of Ghana in the Radio Presenter of the Year category.
DJ Taits programme Gospel Train on ZIMNET radio failed to make it in the Radio Programme of the Year category which was won by Ukozi FMs Indumiso.
The Agma were based on a voting system and artists who amassed the highest number of votes in their categories were declared winners.
Voting, which started on June 1 2012, took 30 days.
Agma, apart from sponsoring the annual awards, is also responsible for the hosting of Africa Gospel Music Festival and Phoenix, Africa Gospel Music Heritage Exhibition.
The Agma community consists of 8 000 members including agents, artists, managers, promoters, radio personnel, record companies and retailers, among others.