Not much is known about Heresy, an obscure literary magazine that found its base in Parktown North, Johannesburg. Although Heresy is almost lost to history, its editorial team and contributors’ list are noteworthy, to say the least. Hersey was founded and edited by prolific writer and poet Peter Wilhelm, whose name often appears in relation to other subversive publications such as Ophir, Izwi, Wurm, Donga, Inspan, The Bloody Horse, and many other historically significant magazines from South Africa.
A phonetic play on ‘Hearsay,’ Wilhelm started Heresy in 1979, seemingly on a whim, as a slim book of poetry. For the first issue, Wilhelm was assisted by Reg Rumney as co-editor, who was his sister, Janet’s, partner. Rumney would remain on the editorial team for all four published issues and would go on to become one of South Africa’s foremost journalists, currently a research associate at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University. The editorial team would grow by the second issue to include Jeremy Gordin, who would also move on to become a respected South African journalist. Before Gordin’s tragic murder after a robbery at his home in early 2023, he was the Director of the Justice Project in the School of Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand.