I am struggling to grasp how namespaces work and was hoping for some direction.
I assume you've read https://www.dokuwiki.org/namespaces
Is there a way I can pre-populate the wiki namespace pages to aid those unfamiliar with the syntax?
You can of course create a whole bunch of stub pages right in the data/pages directory.
However, you could also just create the navigation and let your users fill in the pages. Basically transform your example list into a wiki syntax list of (red) links.