Ernst van Heerden (20 March 1916 – 30 September 1997) was a leading Afrikaans poet.
Born in Pearston, Eastern Cape, South Africa, he was an openly gay academic famous for his poems on sport. He matriculated at Grey High School, Port Elizabeth. In 1948 he received a silver medal in the Olympic Games International Poetry Competition for Ses gedigte/Six poems. He held the degrees of M.A. (University of Stellenbosch), D.Litt. et Phil.(Ghent), Hon.D.Litt. (Rhodes University), Hon D.Litt. (University of the Witwatersrand). He was an Emeritus Professor of Afrikaans and Nederlands at Wits. He also lectured at the University of Stellenbosch from 1943 to 1959. His hobby was the collection of South African works of art. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hofmeyr prize for poetry in 1975.