Bra Hugh. Picture: INLSA/Johan Samuels

Tributes have flood social media to commemorate what would've been Bra Hugh Masekela's 80th birthday. Even Google joined the celebration by dedicating its homepage doodle to the late jazz icon but the biggest ode to his iconic career comes in the form of a Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship that has been established in his honour.

The scholarship will allow six South African students to pursue Bachelor of Music degrees at Manhattan School of Music, one of the world’s leading music conservatories, and Masekela’s alma mater. 

The scholarship, which will cover tuition and all living expenses for each of the six scholarship recipients for their full four years of study, will be announced at the Jazz Foundation’s annual gala in New York, which this year will honour Hugh Masekela’s life and legacy.

"We are enormously grateful for this scholarship grant and deeply honoured to be working with The ELMA Music Foundation and the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation to provide an educational and musical home to six South African students whose presence at the School will stand testament to Hugh Masekela’s vision and talent," said James Gandre, MSM President told Bizniz Africa.

Masekela studied classical trumpet at the MSM from 1960 to 1964.

Minister of Art and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa also shared a tribute post to the "great torch bearer of our liberation struggle" adding that Google's Doodle tribute is "a testament of the rich legacy he left behind, that will live on for many generations to come".

Today marks the 80th birthday anniversary of Jazz legend & a great torch bearer of our liberation struggle, Bra Hugh Masekela. We thank Google for honouring him as today's Doodle - a testament of the rich legacy he left behind, that will live on for many generations to come. pic.twitter.com/gidxU4MkOn

— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA)  April 4, 2019

Masekela died at the age of 78 in a Johannesburg hospital on 23 January 2018. He had been battling prostate cancer since 2008.