Former US secretary of state Colin Powell left a London audience stunned after performing an impromptu hip-hop dance at an Africa-themed event.

The general was appearing at the Africa Rising! concert at the Royal Albert Hall and danced and sung along with Nigerian group Olu Maintain.

Mr Powell boogied to the group's song Yahooze as well as taking the microphone to sing some of the lyrics at the event celebrating the talents of the African continent.

"I never thought I would see Colin Powell dance Yahoozee, he showed that common touch," Africa Rising! organiser Nduka Obaigbena told the Times newspaper.

Mr Powell was the first black US secretary of state and is the only black chairman of the joint chiefs of staff so far.

"I stand before you tonight as an African American," he told the London audience.

"Many people say to me: 'You became secretary of state of the USA, is it really necessary to say you are an African American, or that you are black?' And I say yes, so that we can remind our children.

"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."

Mr Powell said the African continent had been wronged in the past by western powers facing "an iron curtain and a bamboo curtain".

But he added these barriers have fallen and "the world is being driven now by new financial forces".

"Asia is expanding, it created jobs for people, and Eastern Europeans are doing the same, in my continent - Latin America, it's happening also - it's now Africa's turn," he explained.

"[With] all this wealth creation going on in the world, it won't happen with just wishing, it will be done with hard work.

"Africa needs aid, but more than that it needs trade - it needs capital, but it has the same potential as Asia and Eastern European countries.

"There's no reason a new Africa can't be created here and now."

15/10/2008 08:53:51