Worldwide, invasive pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is most common in young children. In adults, disease rates decline following intermittent colonization and the acquisition of naturally acquired immunity. We characterized mucosal and systemic pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in African children and adults who contend with intense rates of colonization, up to 100% and 60% respectively. We find most Malawian children have high pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in tonsil tissue and peripheral blood. In addition, frequent commensalism generates CD25(hi) (Tregs) which modulate mucosal pneumococcal-specific T-cell responses in some children and ≥50% of adults. We propose that immune regulation may prolong pneumococcal colonization and predispose vulnerable individuals to disease.