15 OCTOBER 2008

He kept his suit buttoned up for the performance, but no one could deny that his moves were spot on. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell stunned a gathering in London's Royal Albert Hall with an energetic dance routine on Tuesday.

America's former top diplomat joined Nigerian hip-hop group Olu Maintain at the Africa Rising Festival celebrating the continent's culture.

Undeterred by comparisons with the other international acts, which included Christina Aguilera and Seal, Mr Powell strutted his stuff under the lights, clicking his fingers and belting out a few lyrics to the Yahoozee, a popular Nigerian street dance.

The boogie came after a keynote speech in which the influential American said his black heritage still mattered. "I stand before you as an African American," he said.

"People have said to me you became Secretary of State of the USA (so) is it still necessary to say that you are an African American or that you are black? And I say yes, so that we can remind our children," he continued.

"It took a lot of people struggling to bring me to this point in history. I didn't just drop out of the sky, people came from my continent in chains" he went on, adding that Africa, with hard work and foreign investment, could prosper like Asia and Eastern Europe.

After the elder statesman's turn on stage there was more excitement in store for the audience, with a fashion show featuring Sudanese model Alek Wek and US hunk Tyson Beckford.

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George Bush's former US Secretary of State surprised the audience at a Royal Albert Hall event by getting on down with Nigerian hip-hop crew Olu Maintain Photo: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
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The African Rising festival also featured models like Tyson Beckford showing off designs by Ozwald Boateng Photo: © Getty Images
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British pop star Seal was among the headline acts, too Photo: © Getty Images