Hard work and dedication has earned a community radio gospel presenter and a budding gospel artist awards from the Ingoma Gospel Awards which were held in Johannesburg a fortnight ago. Anele Buka walked away with best Street Marketing Album award for his 13 track album titled Abanethemba Elinjalo while Radio Zibonele’s Onke Jalamba, who is also a gospel artist, clinched the best gospel community radio presenter award.Both these categories were decided by public votes. They both heaped praises about the overwhelming support they had been getting from the province and said they were lost for words to thank their fans for ensuring that they both get these awards. Buka,25, has released five albums to date.He said these awards confirm that what they were doing was something that touched the lives of people, and through music they were bringing hope and healing.He said gospel music is a universal language that speaks to everyone who listens. He said the award was encouraging and it paid off the many sacrifices that he had to make to ensure that his gospel singing career was being realized. Buka said he started singing in 2000 as a backing vocalists, which is how he made his breakthrough. Buka is also a qualified chef and said he released his first album in 2004 but did not do well as he was an unknown wannabe then.He was demoralized and thought of hanging up his music. His parents also suggested should stop singing and focus instead, on getting an education. Because he believed that this was his calling, he chose to continue with singing and prayed almost everyday for a breakthrough, he said. Buka said he feels blessed that he won the award and it brings joy to his heart knowing that people appreciate his music. He highlighted marketing and distribution as some of the main challenges which budding artists still battle. “Most gospel artists, including myself, record their albums in Johannesburg for better sound and quality ... which costs a lot of money.“Faith never disappoints. All the challenges that I have faced never deter me but built me to be a strong individual. Patience, perseverance, has finally paid off and I hope this is the beginning of great things to come,” he said. Jalamba,27, said he feels proud that he has won the award and it simply means that what he does is being recognized. A qualified teacher with a degree in communication, he said gospel music brings hope and revives faith. He said being on the radio afforded him the opportunity to release his album titled Akalilibali Idinga. “Gospel music is a universal language. We have spent about R10000 each to cover recordings expenses,” he said. They will host an award celebration event on Saturday September 23 to celebrate their wins.