For the current project, im pretty happy to just ignore the string prefix, we always use namespaces with colons anyway.
Thanks for all the input guys.
If anyone does have any other bright ideas, let me know.
Edit: I found this little tidbit in the Maya Command Reference about the referenceQuery command, which should be able to give you the parent namespace of an object.
However, when I run the test script at the bottom of the page and then run the following command:
referenceQuery -parentNamespace mid:botRN;
It should return the object's namespace, but instead I get the following error:
Error: line 0: Invalid flag '-parentNamespace' //
It doesn't work in Python either.
There was a mention of it only being added in Maya 6.5 but im running 2011.5x64